Defense Management:

Impediments Jeopardize Logistics Corporate Information Management

NSIAD-95-28: Published: Oct 21, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) implementation of its Corporate Information Management (CIM) initiative, focusing on: (1) DOD progress in improving the logistics functions and depot maintenance under the initiative; and (2) impediments to further progress in achieving CIM goals.

GAO found that: (1) CIM has had little effect on improving DOD materiel management and depot maintenance business practices; (2) DOD reengineering efforts have been delayed because the Joint Logistics Systems Center (JLSC) has been focusing on selecting standard logistics information systems that it believes are necessary in the reengineering process; (3) DOD believes that improving migration systems will generate quick cost savings that are needed to offset budget reductions; (4) the mandated 3-year milestone for implementing the migration systems may not allow enough time to ensure that the systems meet the services' and the Defense Logistics Agency's operational requirements; (5) JLSC has selected some migration systems, begun preliminary work on improving business processes, and reduced budget requests for redundant migration systems development projects; (6) impediments to CIM implementation include the reluctance of some DOD managers to accept CIM, DOD failure to integrate its CIM efforts, and confusing DOD guidance on CIM management authority; and (7) DOD has developed a strategic plan for improving business operations and clarifying authority over systems development, and a mechanism to handle cross-functional issues.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On June 14, 1994, DOD issued the Corporate Information Management Strategic Plan, and in mid-1995 it established the Enterprise Integration Executive Board and supporting Enterprise Integration Corporate Management Council. Since the issuance of this plan and formation of the Board, DOD has recognized that the CIM initiative has not successfully met its objectives and goals. Strategies being developed under the name of Enterprise Integration appear to address the shortcomings GAO identified in the CIM management strategy. In early 1996, DOD abandoned its Logistics CIM strategy in favor of a new strategy of using information systems with common operating environments to provide the interoperability between the various services' business areas. GAO has started efforts to review this strategy.

    Recommendation: To overcome the fundamental weaknesses in the management of the CIM initiative and to further encourage cultural changes needed to support new DOD business operations, the Secretary of Defense should revise the CIM management strategy to ensure that functional managers, particularly the service Chiefs of Staff and the Director, Defense Logistics Agency, actively participate and lead efforts to reengineer DOD business processes under the CIM initiative.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD's CIM Strategic Plan set a framework for changing its business practices. On January 30, 1995, ASD(C3I) issued instructions to PSAs to complete strategic plans to expedite cultural change. DOD requested that GAO present its Strategic Information Management Assessment Toolkit to the Corporate Functional Integration Board to assess its use for promoting, measuring, and implementing organizational information management-based change. As part of the functional plans and assessment methods, training programs were to be included. While these plans and actions respond to the recommendation, specific training programs have not been established and implemented. In early 1996, DOD abandoned its CIM strategy in favor of using information systems with common operating environments to provide the interoperability between the services' business area. Under this new strategy, each service can maintain its unique information systems and, consequently, its business processes.

    Recommendation: To overcome the fundamental weaknesses in the management of the CIM initiative and to further encourage cultural changes needed to support new DOD business operations, the Secretary of Defense should train DOD employees (at all levels) to promote understanding and acceptance of changes needed to their current ways of doing business.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD contends that while it agrees with the concept, the addition or change in title would signal a change in the initiative or in management that has not taken place. Therefore, it is the Department's opinion that there is no compelling reason to change the name of the initiative.

    Recommendation: To overcome the fundamental weaknesses in the management of the CIM initiative and to further encourage cultural changes needed to support new DOD business operations, the Secretary of Defense should change the name of the CIM initiative to lessen the confusion created as the initiative has evolved and to more accurately communicate the primary CIM objective.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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